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new Subaru owner, with questions


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17 replies to this topic

#1 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 10:10 AM

Hello all,

I just aquired my uncle's '91 Legacy Wagon. It is a RHD model (he's a rural mail carrier). It's a 2.2 automatic AWD, with 119,000 miles. He bought it with 100,000 miles on it from a dealership, so no previous owner or maintenance history is available. But the whole vehicle, aside from being very dusty is in pretty good condition.

Heres my dilema, I know about Hondas and Datsuns. Not much about Subarus except what is common knowledge. Ive read through the FAQ here and found a couple of helpful sites. But I thought I would ask some direct questions about the issues I am having. I do not have a Hayne's, Chilton's or FSM yet. But will get one in the near future.

1. rough idle
I beleive the number 3 cylinder is not firing at all. It seems to be getting spark, I can see and hear the spark, when I pull the wire out of the plug when the car is idling. However there is no change in engine behavior. I pulled the spark plug (champion plug) and replaced the plug with an NGK (I have replaced all the plugs with NGKs). However, the champion plug I pulled looked like it had never fired before, looked brand spanking new, gap was correct. I hooked up a standard timing light to each wire, and every wire flashed randomly, I'm assuming that is something to do with the nature of coilpacks?

2. oil leak
The main reason my uncle decided to get rid of the car is it has develepoed a noticable oil leak. It seems to drip from the front cover area, the drops on the cardboard I put under it are in a nice row, right under the front cover. There is old caked oil on the block under the alternator also. It is also dripping oil somewhere on the exhaust manifold, I am thinking it is near the collector/catalytic converter. Because the oil is dripping on the manifold, it is smoking and stinking something awful. The leak/leaks dont seem to be too bad, he parked it for 4 months when he noticed the oil leak, and it has only been driven 40 miles back to my house, with no notciable loss in oil on the dipstick.

3. hard shift into 2nd gear
Just a minor annoyance, it shifts very hard into 2nd. Im guessing it just needs a fluid change.

Anyway, sorry for the long first post, but I thought I would throw all that out and see if you guys could help me out.

Thanks for being here.

#2 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 10:57 AM

Ok, I found a download for a 1992 Factory Service manual. Thank you to the hosts of www.mail.experiencetherave.com - /subaru_manual_scans/1992_FSM_(Engine_&_Electrical)/ .

Question is, how close are the '91 cars to the '92 FSM?

#3 porcupine73

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 11:37 AM

Hi and welcome! Is the #3 plug wire in good shape where the connector pops onto the plug? Basically the thing sparks the two opposite cylinders at the same time so if #4 is firing then it almost has to be plug wire or maybe coil pack since you already changed the spark plug.

Oil leak from the inside the timing cover is most likely oil pump o-ring or has come unsealed from block, not sure if this early a year had the thing where the screws on the rear oil pump cover that holds in the rotors tended to back out thus forcing oil out the crank seal. and/or could be the cam seals. Should be pretty obvious if you get the timing belt cover off.

Oil leak at the drive end might be from the rear main seal, i think from other threads maybe the thing is plastic that holds the seal and should be replaced with an updated metal one, bad thing being engine has to come out to do it.

I have a '96 legacy and it shifts hard from 1-2 also though I changed the fluid and everything it still does it, not sure why, but doesn't seem to be causing any issues.

#4 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 03:56 PM

I was hoping the front oil leak might be easy. We shall see, hopefully this weekend.

Now that you mention the rear main seal, I did notice oil caked around the starter area.

I still havent crawled under the car to see whats going on there.

As for the spark...I think all 4 are getting spark now. Judging by the looks of the new plugs after 40 miles or so. But, I still get no change in engine sound/rpm when I pull the plug wire off of number 3.

I was able to get my timing light working correctly on the wires (battery terminals were corroded). And the timing at idle with no load seems to fluctuate between 12 and 20 degrees.

I hear a lot of people recommend OEM wires, not sure if thats what I have on it though. They are red wires with Yazuka or something stamped on them, they are also each stamped 1, 2, 3, or 4 respectevly. Also they have printed on them 1991 (hopefully not the original wires???)

#5 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 04:21 PM

well...some good news I think...

I disconnected the battery this morning. And when I came home reconnected it, and now I have a check engine light! So, that will help a bunch. Just need to figure out how to check the codes :)

#6 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 04:50 PM

ok guys, help me out, please?

I am looking at the 92 FSM for the trouble shooting CEL codes. Will this be the same for 91? And, where are these connectors they are refering too, for D-check and U-check and what not. Or is there a DIY'ers way to check codes?

#7 porcupine73

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 05:55 PM

Sweet sounds like there's codes to read. I don't know how to read codes on the pre odb2 models. There's probably some connectors under the dash to plug together or something. I'm sure it's in other threads on here.

The front oil leak should be the easier of the leaks to fix as you don't have to pull the engine to remove the timing belt and do the cam seals and front crank seal (which is on the oil pump actually). The timing sounds about right, that's what I see in my '96 2.2 at idle anyway.

About the #3 cylinder, how about if you disconnect the plug wire to some other cylinder, do you still not notice a difference or is it just with #3?

#8 Manarius

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 05:56 PM

90-94 are all the same in terms of CEL codes.

#9 mod5csi

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 06:29 PM

thank you all for the replies

There is a noticable difference when pulling plugs 1, 2, and 4. Meaning, the idle speed does change and it runs even more rough.

Another new development on the rough idle.

It runs rough only at idle and part/throttle (cruising throttle). But it does it at any speed and any RPM and in all gears (didnt try 1st or gear) I noticed it on my test drive this afternoon. So I tested it a 30mph, 45, and 55. I tested what gears I could without overreving the motor.

Now the car sat for several months over the summer, 3-4 months. Could I have a leaky/bad/clogged/what have you injector? Im leaning toward an injector issue... at least until I can figure out how the CEL codes work and how to check them.

#10 fnlyfnd

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 06:38 PM

do a tranny (not flush) oil change, and filter, that should help the shift. Make sure all tire are near circum. of all others, and psi are all the same. Oil leaks are common. A tuneup would do you a world of good.

Its a RHD treat it nice.....I always wanted a rhd vehicle.

#11 subiefan

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 06:49 PM

I'd guess it's injector #3 that's giving you your trouble. A hard 1-2 upshift is normal. As long as all the other shifts are smooth, it's probably fine. Just a Subaru thing.

I wouldn't worry too much about the oil leak. Just keep it full and fix it when you change your timing belt. I'd worry more if your Subie isn't leaking. My God! It's out of oil!:lol:

#12 mod5csi

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:59 PM

Update:

Looks like the #3 injector was just clogged. I ran some Sea Foam through full tank of gas today and it got better over time. Also replaced the fuel filter to see if that helped.

Never did figure out how to check the codes, but the CEL is intermittent now, usually off throttle coming to a stop and at idle.

#13 ericem

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 09:47 PM

Update:

Looks like the #3 injector was just clogged. I ran some Sea Foam through full tank of gas today and it got better over time. Also replaced the fuel filter to see if that helped.

Never did figure out how to check the codes, but the CEL is intermittent now, usually off throttle coming to a stop and at idle.


good to hear, try some seafoam threw the pcv valve. worked wonders for me.

#14 OB99W

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:06 PM

[...]Never did figure out how to check the codes, but the CEL is intermittent now, usually off throttle coming to a stop and at idle.

See this article; includes info on retrieving codes pre-OBDII :
http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/EWPreOBDAug05.pdf

#15 OB99W

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:44 PM

[...]I beleive the number 3 cylinder is not firing at all. It seems to be getting spark, I can see and hear the spark, when I pull the wire out of the plug when the car is idling. However there is no change in engine behavior. I pulled the spark plug (champion plug) and replaced the plug with an NGK (I have replaced all the plugs with NGKs). However, the champion plug I pulled looked like it had never fired before, looked brand spanking new, gap was correct. I hooked up a standard timing light to each wire, and every wire flashed randomly, I'm assuming that is something to do with the nature of coilpacks?

The links below will provide some info on "wasted spark" ignition. There's also a part explaining why it's better to electrically disconnect a fuel injector rather than disabling ignition when checking cylinder balance.

http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/DirectIgnition.pdf
http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/IgnitionCoil.pdf
http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/IgnitionCoilSum04.pdf
There are errors in the "DirectIgnition.pdf" info. In the "Ignition Coil Testing" section, the terminal numbers listed are reversed between the primary and secondary; however, the diagram is labeled correctly. The correct numbering relative to expected resistance is in "IgnitionCoil.pdf"; you can use the diagram from "DirectIgnition.pdf" to identify the terminal numbers.

#16 mod5csi

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 01:08 AM

OB99W, dude you rock! Thanks I will surely be bookmarking the endwrench site!

#17 OB99W

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 12:24 PM

OB99W, dude you rock! Thanks I will surely be bookmarking the endwrench site!

You're welcome; I'm glad to help. Yes, the End Wrench articles can be enlightening (thanks to Subaru), but errors do seem to creep in on rare occasions. If you ever read something there that doesn't make sense, hopefully someone here on USMB can clarify it.

#18 montana105

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 10:01 PM

Just a thought! Could this be a burnt valve? Any exhaust leaks?




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